David Brooks's recent essay, “How We Are Ruining America,” has touched a nerve with a lot of people, Robert Pondiscio among them.
As Robert puts it:
There is a language of power. It is the language of privileged parents, affluent communities, and elite universities. It’s the language of David Brooks. But he’d do well to recognize that you don’t learn that language in those places. They don’t let you in until or unless you demonstrate command of it.
All good, and a dozen years ago, I'd have left it at that. The mission of education reform, I thought, is getting more poor kids and minorities into college, which offers first-generation access to the type of high-paying entry work I enjoyed at age twenty-two. It also brings political and cultural power.
Yet Robert also uses another term, the “language of upward mobility.” Getting that right, teaching more kids that language, is a different task today than it was in 2000.
Allow me to paint you a different picture of power.
As the summer temperatures climb, the outdoors beckon, and I find myself near waterside marinas. From the Cleveland-Toledo Lake Erie coast, to the Pittsburgh-to-Cincinnati Ohio River banks, to...